“Van-nah! Open the door so I can at least try and get ready! I still have to do my hair and you and I both know it takes a while.” Mickey Powers continued to slap her palm against the bathroom door. She then heaved a sigh and leaned against the wall, plotting her sister’s murder. “You’ve been in there for forty minutes!”
“Your hair is in braids, Mickey, you don’t need to do anything with it,” was the curt reply. “I, on the other hand, need to be in here so I can make sure I’m perfect.”
Mickey’s upper lip curled. “We’re going to school, not a beauty pageant.” Though considering the amount of parents of students who were designers, it wasn’t a far off statement. “We’ve been in school for two weeks, there’s no one that you need to impress.”
“You always have to dress to impress, Mick,” Savannah replied. Her voice was muffled and Mickey knew it meant she was still putting on her makeup. Nowhere near close to finishing her morning routine. “That’s what Mom always says.”
Speaking of which…Mickey turned on her heel. She stomped down the hardwood floor of the long hallway until she reached her mother’s massive bedroom. It was practically a wing of the house all on its own. “Mo-om!” she called.
Mickey’s voice echoed along the scaling the walls and high ceiling of her mother’s bedroom. Sunlight filtered through the skylight that had been strategically placed by the interior decorators her mother lived by giving the pristine white room a golden hue that warmed her. When she was young, Mickey used to go to her mother’s room and curl up on the window seat to read, bathed in the warm sunlight while watching her mother gracefully move back forth getting ready for the day.
Almost as if she were dancing to a beat Mickey tried and failed to understand. It was funny how quickly things changed.
Stepping over the threshold, Mickey found her mother sitting at her large vanity mirror, putting on makeup. What is it with this family and makeup? As it was, she didn’t use more than foundation, mascara, and a little bit of eyeliner. But Savannah and her mother went the extra-extra mile. Mickey resisted the urge to roll her eyes and then cleared her throat to get her mother’s attention.
“Mom, tell Savannah to get out of the bathroom so I can get ready for school! She’s been in there for almost an hour!”
“Don’t bring me into it Mickayla,” Her mother replied airily. She brushed blush on her medium brown cheeks with a quick twist of her wrist. “You’ve been arguing over this practically since you were born.” Dallas Powers set her brush down on the attached oak table and gracefully—first moving one leg then the other—shifted to face her daughter. “Besides, it’s your girls’ bathroom, it’s your problem. You can work it out, can’t you?”
Mickey pouted, placing her hands on her hips. She tucked her locks over her shoulder and stuck her bottom lip out as far as it could go. Dallas had always been a sucker for her daughters’ pouting, even though they were getting older and it didn’t work as well, there were still times where she gave in.
This was not one of those times. Dallas chuckled to herself then tucked her own share of braids behind her ear. “What are you wearing to school today, honey?”
“If you’re wondering whether or not it’s that dress that you picked out, don’t even think it,” Mickey said. She raised her chin defiantly.
“It’ll really help me get my name out there,” Dallas said. She dropped her hands into her lap and smiled charmingly at her daughter. That worked almost as much as the girls’ pouting, but more so considering it was used to try and make something boring sound fun. “And it’ll be really cute on you.”
“Is that supposed to be sarcastic?” Mickey tried not to smile.
“No, it’s the truth.”
Mickey watched her mother for a moment then looked away. She could feel herself starting to weaken. Her mother’s charming smile was synonymous with her power stance. Hands on her hips—or folded—and lifted chin, shoulders rolled back to make her stand more firm. The same pose that became her signature; on every billboard that showcased a new release of her fashion line, magazine covers, photoshoots, there had to be at least one shot of the charming smile and power pose. It also usually meant that Dallas was going to get her way.
This time it was to get Mickey to wear the clothes Dallas had specifically designed for her. Most girls would jump at the chance for an entire wardrobe designed particularly with her in mind. And while Mickey loved her mother and was grateful her mother thought of her enough to do so, fashion wasn’t really her thing but fashion wasn’t her thing. Honestly, she felt her mother wasted it on her. Though, Mickey could admit, it did make things easier when they were invited to awards shows and had to get something new. No one else would be wearing a dress or other outfit that was made specifically for her and girls came up to ask, waving their checkbooks and pens, ready to write out whatever amount to get one for themselves.
And who wouldn’t like to have a personal stylist? To be able to wake up and already know what to wear, what would accentuate their personal style and have people talking about it for days? Mickey could hardly go online without her social media pages blowing up with people commenting on her outfits from candid photos that had been placed on the internet? Was she so self-indulged and snobby that she obsessed over it? Absolutely not. But it could be a good mood lifter on a bad day.
Dallas Powers was the biggest fashion designer in all of Ashburg—all of California if she were honest. But to Mickey, she was only known a ‘Mom’. Dallas only wore what she designed and nothing else. Along with creating outfits for her daughters, she designed clothes for major fashion retailers, starting with a line for women and teenage girls before recently shifting to men and teenage boys. So far social media was blowing up over the recent images that had been released.
Noticing the expression of discomfort on her daughter’s face, Dallas held up her hand. “Sorry, I know you don’t like ‘cute’. Cute are for puppies and kittens. You’d look beautiful.”
Her mother continued to tease her for the time she was eight and she had gone on a rant of hating the word ‘cute’. It was like, as she equated it now, watching others declare their love to someone else on Facebook, of which she wasn’t so keen on as well. Not that she wasn’t happy her fellow students were in happy relationships, but to see it every day? Her newsfeed didn’t need to be filled with random nonsense like that when there were more entertaining things to read.
The latest was a freshman who was putting up post after post including the details of her father’s ongoing legal battle against Atlantic Records. Chances are it was going to be removed due to confidentiality agreements, but getting the inside scoop on one of the media’s most watched cases was the best. Getting it before everyone else was even better.
Especially when it came to news of her favorite bands. Not many people knew of the connections that could be made with the inside scoop unless you knew the right people. And thanks to her mother, she knew the right people.
“I want to be myself, to dress the way that I want to,” Mickey said.
Dallas turned back to the mirror. Mickey watched as she brushed back her hair, leaving a few strands to frame her beautiful face. Mickey had once said that her mother’s face was so perfect it was hard to look at straight on. Though she could only hope she became just as beautiful, confident, and successful as her mother was. As much as she valued her independence, she was as proud of her mother’s success.
“You know everyone would want to see you and Savannah in matching outfits,” Dallas stated. Mickey adopted a look of pure horror. Being twins there was always people who expected them to dress similarly every day. And others who continued to ask—and demand—that they say something in unison and wonder how much of them were identically. Marketers and publicists enjoyed it even more and tried to push them into it as much as possible.
Every now and then, if it was something she really liked, Mickey didn’t mind and would be the first to suggest wearing the same thing. But she was fifteen now, and with college looming closer—as their teachers continued to say time and time again—Mickey wanted to have some more independence and originality.
Savannah must’ve felt the same way as she said, “Puh-lease! Mickey wouldn’t be able to pull that look off no matter how hard she tried,” to announce her presence. Savannah Powers walked into room with her green eyes glued to her phone. “Even if we are twins.”
“Thanks for the compliment, sis,” Mickey said dully.
“No problem.” Savannah offered a taunting grin.
Mickayla and Savannah Powers, commonly known as Mickey and Vannah, were the most non-identical identical twins ever. Due to their differing interests and activities they were commonly mistaken to be fraternal—from those that didn’t understand fraternal twins were only made by being two separate eggs fertilized by two different sperm. They had studied twins enough to know everything biological about it. However their similarities showed in their enjoyment of celebrity gossip, reality shows, and 80s music.
“I’m going to go get ready,” Mickey said. She started towards the door, looking at her watch. At this point she wouldn’t have time to take a shower. “Then I’m leaving.”
“Where?” Dallas demanded, the sharpness in her voice causing her daughter to stop on a dime.
She’s never this way with Savannah, Mickey was almost sure it was because she wouldn’t dress like a china doll that her mother held a tight reign over her. Their public image was always so important to her and as of late it was getting worse.
“To go to school?” Mickey looked at her mother as if she were crazy. “The only place that I can go at this hour without being stopped and questioned by the police or paparazzi.” She took a deep breath and added, “I was going to ride my bike.”
Dallas reached up and rubbed her eyebrows. “Mickey, you know how I feel about that,” she said. Standing up, she shifted away from the vanity though she made no move to clean up the small mess she created; that was a job for their trusted maid, Geneviève. Dallas kept her eyes locked on her eldest daughter. “I don’t want you-“
“Fine!” Mickey interrupted.
She would do anything to keep from having to hear the ‘reputation lecture’ again. To say that Dallas cared about what people thought of her was an understatement, she obsessed over it. That’s what happened when you lived so close to Los Angeles and was as successful as Dallas was; everyone wanted to know everything about their lives. Did she like having money and being able to do what she wanted? Sure. Did she like having so much media attention? Not so much. Not when her every move was scrutinized.
Not when she would wear an older pair of jeans and a shirt and the gossip sites would question if they were running out of money. Hadn’t people ever heard of washing machines? Was it so hard to imagine the rich and famous to actually do their clothes and re-wear them?
“I’ll go in the limo, but only if you drop me off a block away from the school,” Mickey compromised. “And I’ll wear what you made for me, but I choose the day to wear it.” Anything was better than nothing. And they were getting better a compromising. Things didn’t always go Mickey’s way but at least they talked about it now.
Savannah sighed impatiently. “Can we just go?” She tapped her watch with her long French-tipped nails. “I have to work on a new piano piece and the practice rooms always the first to be taken.”
“We mustn’t keep her highness waiting,” Mickey said. She gave an exaggerated curtsey before going back to her room to get ready. There wasn’t enough time to take a shower so she just pulled her hair back into a ponytail, fastening it with a large blue ribbon. She was packing her backpack when Bradley, their butler, walked into her bedroom.
Mickey smiled as he gently cleared his throat to call attention to himself. He had been working for the Powers for as long as Mickey could remember. Honestly, he was probably the only one in the house that Mickey felt close to. The maids kept their heads down as they did their jobs, cleaning silently and efficiently. The other butlers only spoke to her when spoke to, believing it was better to keep their familiarity as low as possible.
But Bradley was different. He was the first of the team that Dallas had hired, and was there for every moment of the girls’ lives. It wasn’t long until he was like a father to Mickey. He was the only man in her life that could fill that role. He gave her advice when she needed it, listened to Mickey’s good days and bad days, and gently admonished her when the time came. He was in no danger of being fired for it, but was also very aware to not overstep Dallas’ discipline boundaries.
“The limo is here for you Miss. Mickayla,” Bradley declared formally, his arms behind his back.
Mickey pulled her backpack over her shoulders, making sure it didn’t wrinkle her vintage band t-shirt and matching vest. “I’ve told you a million times Bradley, you can just call me Mickey.” His eyes shone when Mickey stuck her lower lip out in a pout. “Please?”
This was a conversation they had nearly every day. And as with every other time Bradley said, “That would make our relationship a little bit too familiar.” He leaned towards her and whispered conspiratorially, “But I’ll do my best.” He held out his arm, waiting for Mickey to leave the room first.
She left the room and hurried down to the limo, sliding across the buttery leather seats as she did so.
“Finally,” Savannah sighed. Her eyes were still on her phone.
Mickey didn’t bother to reply. They didn’t talk to each other much on the way to school unless there was some sort of a scandal or gossip they missed from the night before. Not that they didn’t want to talk, but that they used that time to catch up on things. Savannah listened to the radio and talked to whomever was on the other end of the phone.
Mickey, on the other hand, put her headphones in her ears and blasted Paramore as she pulled a book out of her backpack. She always read to pass the time on the way to school. It took her mind off of things, giving her the chance to feel like a normal teenage girl and not one who was constantly watched.
Like she had a good relationship with her mother and they were extremely close. Because the truth was, the moment Dallas came into money and the society that came with it, Mickey lost her.